A Shortcut to Gardening Know-How: 10-Minute University™, Clackamas County, Oregon
10-Minute University™ offers a shortcut to research-based gardening know-how. During 2015 & 2016, 10-Minute University speakers taught one hundred and fourteen classes serving 3,883 clients with 5,370 educational contacts. Classes and handouts are offered free to all persons.
Clackamas County Master Gardeners began 10-Minute University™ as short classes for busy shoppers at their popular Spring Garden Fair. In 2006, they tested the idea by offering 10 classes, each lasting only 10 minutes. Client evaluations immediately showed that the audience liked every aspect of these classes except their duration. Today, the average class lasts 25 minutes.
Every class is evaluated in writing to assess the overall class, content, presenter, and likelihood of using what was learned. Clients participate on a voluntary basis. Results are tallied, shared, and tracked over time for action.
A strong evaluation system is just one core tenet. The other two are highly-skilled MG instructors and well-crafted take-home handouts.
Instructors are active Master Gardeners who excel in public speaking and horticultural knowledge. All are committed to research-based information.
A two-sided, one-sheet handout accompanies each class. Its development begins with a review of extension literature and ends with review comments from Extension agents, with many drafts and revisions in between. MG volunteers do the research, drafting, revisions, editing, and publishing.
Currently there are forty-three handouts posted at www.cmastergardeners.org
10-Minute University classes are featured at two Clackamas County Master Gardeners annual educational events. In March, Garden Discovery Day helps jumpstart the gardening season. In October, Fall into Gardening shows how to put a garden ‘to bed’.
Classes continue to be part of the Spring Garden Fair in May, the MG Speakers’ Bureau year-round, and are offered at the Oregon City Farmers Market during the summer.
A. Written Survey (upon completion of class)
Evaluations show the vast majority of clients find 10-Minute University classes an effective way to learn. During 2015 and 2016, every class was evaluated in writing by clients. The graph below shows the results.
88% of clients surveyed strongly agreed with the statement “I will use what I learned today.”
B. Longitudinal Survey (3 months after class)
Two themes emerged from their responses to the question “Have you used anything learned from those classes? If yes, would you share some specifics?”
First, clients used what they learned.
- “I successfully deterred slugs from my new plants, planted some beautiful potted containers, and reseeded my entire lawn. I also amended my soil this year with compost.”
- “The class on pollinators was wonderful! I started a new garden just for bees and butterflies.”
Second, clients gained confidence in gardening.
- “My husband and I planted our first vegetable garden using the information given to us by this series of classes. It gave us our confidence to do things correctly, instead of trial and error.”
- “Yes! You guys are my source to current gardening practices and how-to. Without you I would not have the confidence I have today.”